The point the White House is missing here is that even with important captives like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, official authorization for severe interrogation is not necessary. Just as there is no way to draw a clear line between coercion and torture, there is no way to define, a priori, circumstances that justify harsh treatment. Any attempt to codify it unleashes the sadists and leads to widespread abuse. Interrogators who choose coercive methods would, and should, be breaking the rules.
That does not mean that they should always be taken to task. Prosecution and punishment remains an executive decision, and just as there are legal justifications for murder, there are times when coercion is demonstrably the right thing to do.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Mark Bowden on torture, which he is against, but.... He conclusion is tough to read, just as I am sure it was tough to write, but it is one of those things that we have to try to understand:
Posted by Tom at 4:11 PM